Walking Dead Tech Giants

Why are HP, Cisco, EMC, IBM and others the walking dead? See also Dell’s purchase of EMC, of great local interest due to EMC being based in Massachusetts and my knowing people who work there.

You can’t stop innovation and change. You can sometimes come close if you wield government force (regulation, barriers to entry…) on your behalf, but even that might merely be a delaying tactic.

When Amazon Dies

Food for thought regarding digital “purchases.” I was completely unaware that you could download the movie you purchased digitally from Amazon, rather than merely streaming it on demand.

The thing about this is perhaps it’s not so different. Vinyl was the thing for decades and seemed like forever. Notwithstanding its current comeback, you really only “owned” the music on vinyl as long as nothing happened to it – unless you had “backed it up” on tape and could still play that – and as long as a record player was available. And, assuming you weren’t using a wind-up record player and associated sound quality, electricity was available. And replacement parts.

Your VHS tapes were forever. Awesome! Owning a movie! Except if VHS became obsolete, if an individual tape died, if a played could no longer be obtained or fixed, if electricity remained available.

A CD degrades (especially one you have burned). A cassette tape degrades. My box of 8-track tapes sure does me no good without a player, assuming they would even work after decades of sitting around.

What is the actual life of a DVD? Will a player be available in 50 years? For a price you can afford?

So yeah, it’s a good question, but when it comes to intellectual property you license more than own, one could consider it a technological house of cards. I am attached to my Kindle because I can read all kinds of excellent books being published at an acceptable price. Nothing beats a book, though. Long-lasting, if not forever, depending how it’s made and conditions it’s kept in. Sure, if Amazon goes away, any books I have in digital form that have downloaded will still be there… as long as the device they downloaded to exists or they can be extracted from it to other devices and perhaps formats.

If enough of a CME happens, how long are we without any of that stuff? It’s not likely the laws of physics will change to preclude electricity, but hey, that too.

I’ve thought about this often enough, but mostly decided not to worry about it.

Referrer and Comment Spam

In reviewing traffic to this set of blogs, I got tired of seeing referrer spam. I looked up what to do about it and found you can use the .htaccess file. So I started the project of gathering up referrers from across all the hosting and domains I deal with, then filtering that down to a list that included one each and did not include real referrers. Tedious! Need to get back to it.

Meanwhile, some older sites on which I have not yet updated WordPress have started getting pounded with comment spam. Since it needs to be approved, that just means a ton of e-mail, but that’s annoying enough. Now those updates are on my agenda, as I am pretty sure they helped in the past. If only because it makes upgrading Akismet possible. On the other hand, maybe Akismet is being overwhelmed. Which makes me want to see what else can be done.

I actually tested Ghost as an alternative to WordPress. There were two issues. One was the learning curve. The other was that I couldn’t blog remotely with BlogDesk, as is my habit.


Then There’s This

NSA spying goes so far as to intercept packages to plant backdoors or other monitoring methods. It’s not enough to be offline, or to be on darknet, or to be on an alternative to the Internet. All unconstitutional, depending on how judges rule, which for all we know could depend on what they have on the judges in question, shades of the speculation regarding the Roberrts contortions on ObamaCare. And that speculation preceded the NSA revelations, and even the IRS scandal. But I digress into the non-technical, non-geek realm, if not into one that should concern us all.

What gets me is trying to picture how they do the physical interception. You order from, say, Dell, who ships it, say, UPS, then somewhere in transit to you the package is intercepted? Whatever is going to done to it happens, then it is inserted back into transit? Without the shipper knowing? Hard to imagine.